Disney buys Lucasfilm, announces new 'Star Wars' episode
The Walt Disney Company announced Tuesday an outlay of USD 4.05 billion for the purchase of the Lucasfilm company, founded by director George Lucas and the creator of franchises like "Star Wars" and "Indiana Jones".
Disney also revealed that it plans to create a new chapter in the famous galactic saga - "Star Wars: Episode 7" - to premiere in 2015.
Disney struck an agreement with Lucas, owner of 100 percent of Lucasfilm, for the purchase of the company to be paid half in cash and the remainder with approximately 40 million Disney shares.
"It's now time for me to pass 'Star Wars' on to a new generation of filmmakers," the 68-year-old Lucas said. "I've always believed that 'Star Wars' could live beyond me, and I thought it was important to set up the transition during my lifetime."
Kathleen Kennedy, until now co-president of Lucasfilm, becomes president of the firm within the Disney group.
"I'm confident that with Lucasfilm under the leadership of Kathleen Kennedy, and having a new home within the Disney organization, 'Star Wars' will certainly live on and flourish for many generations to come," Lucas said.
Disney President and CEO Robert A. Iger confirmed that the studio plans a new "Star Wars" trilogy that will begin in 2015 with "Star Wars: Episode 7", and will continue with "Episode 8" and "Episode 9".
Disney thus adds Lucasfilm to other companies in its group, such as the television sports channel ESPN, ABC, the Pixar animation studio and Marvel Comics.